Dear Friends and Neighbors,
In the more than 30 years that my wife Sue and I have lived in Pelham Manor, we have come to realize the critical role that our village government has in maintaining both the unique character of our village and the delivery of high quality services at a reasonable cost. For this reason, the upcoming mayoral election is terribly important.
As I look at the choice between the two candidates there is one stark difference in an essential quality to be an effective mayor: experience. One candidate has more than nine years of it. The other has none.
Neal Schwarzfeld has ably served as a trustee for the past five years and before that as village attorney for four years. In that time, he has served as Fire Commissioner and Police Commissioner and has actively participated in the development of five annual budgets for the village, each of which involved difficult decisions on the annual expenditure of over $12 million.
Jen Lapey deserves credit for wanting to throw her hat in the ring. But by her own admission, she does not have this kind of experience or anything like it. Chairing the garden society and spending two years as president of a country club are simply not comparable. The position of village mayor is too important for on-the-job training. Too much is at stake for residents, both in terms of our tax burden and in terms of maintaining quality services.
Jen Lapey should get involved in village government. Her legal background would make her an excellent village attorney. She also should consider running for one of the trustee positions where she can take responsibility for public works or the fire department and become familiar with the issues. Nothing is stopping her from gaining this invaluable experience before taking a shot at being a mayor. I would expect any village candidate to have the humility to realize that he or she can serve the community better by gaining some background and experience before jumping into the position of mayor.
In his nine years of service, Neal has demonstrated the right temperament needed to listen to community concerns and to collaborate with other elected officials; and he has shown leadership and good judgment in dealing with our village employees. For these reasons, I encourage my friends and neighbors to vote for Neal on March 18.
991 Highland Avenue